Few things facilitate intercultural communication as effectively as international marriages. Ten years ago last month David Beerman, from the United States, and his wife Gillian, from the Netherlands, translated a cross-cultural conversation into Moby Wrap, Inc., a company that aims to provide American parents with comfortable baby carriers. A decade later, Moby Wrap has gone one step further to produce diaper bags and branch out into the toy category. After talking to David Beerman at this year’s Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA, I learned that their business grew out of listening and innovating.
Ten years ago, Gillian brought over a baby wrap from Europe for her second child. She told David that it was the most comfortable thing to carry a baby in it. As a result, they decided to start a business to introduce those European style baby wraps to the United States. David supported his wife in this endeavor and made a suggestion about improving the instruction book for using the wrap. “The [European] instructions were really poor,” said David. “There were like black and white photocopies of how to try to use the wrap. It’s somewhat complicated especially for a new parent, so we made a great full-colored forty page instruction book that didn’t just explain about how to use a wrap, but also gave tips on parenting in general and exercises you could do while you were wearing your baby and nutrition tips.”
Later, as many Moby Wrap customers complained about the bulky ends of the fabric that were tied off the wrap, David and Gillian made another decision to remove the ends, and even though it was just a simple design change, it has made the Moby Wrap more user-friendly.
At the Natural Products Expo West David showed me two new products which are also the results of responding to the users’ needs — Moby GO and diaper bags. Moby GO is a structured baby carrier for babies 15-45 lbs. It not only has the stretch fabric shoulder straps that are similar to a Moby Wrap over the shoulder, but also a waist belt that follows the practice of high-end backpacks that can carry more weight. Two types of foam are used in the waist belt: the firm foam on the outside to give structure and the softer foam on the inside to make the user feel more comfortable. “The combination of the really soft waist belt and the stretch fabric shoulder straps is unique to the baby industry. There’s no other carrier quite like it,” David said.
About two years ago, Moby Wrap, Inc. began working with the German company LÄSSIG to enter the diaper bag business. David said, “We’ve been really proud to be able to offer their extremely high-quality innovative designs. These diaper bags don’t really look like diaper bags. They look like fashion handbags.” Another thing that made David proud of working with LÄSSIG is the new, eco-friendly Green Label Urban Diaper Bag. “That’s what we are really highlighting at this show because it’s made from recycled plastic bottles […] PET,” said David.
Three days after I talked to David, one of my university roommates in China gave birth to her daughter. I, therefore, sent the diaper bag to her together with some baby clothes. In the letter sent along with the package, I explained her the advantages of the Moby Wrap diaper bag. I was thrilled that we began to have one more thing to chat about: Parenting solutions can bring not only mother and father closer to the child but friends closer together as well.